Katie Keppel

Katie Keppel
Program Location:
Leiden, the Netherlands
Semester Abroad: Spring 2013
Major: Film Production

I think it came as a shock to not only my mom, but to me as well when I gave her the news that I would be studying abroad in Leiden, Netherlands. Upon coming to Webster, I had heard of the amazing opportunities that the university had to offer for study abroad programs, and I knew that if I were to take advantage of all that Webster University has to offer, studying abroad was a must on my school and life-long to do list.

However, the question remained on where to go and how in the world would I convince my parents to even let me go. At first, I was dead set on studying in London. I loved British accents and it was a place I had always wanted to visit, but then I realized how expensive that would be, how I wouldn’t be forcing myself outside of my comfort zone, and that loving British accents was a rather poor excuse to go. So I decided on Leiden, Netherlands mainly for the cost factor and because it would allow me to completely delve into an entirely new culture—one that I would unknowingly fall in love with.

From the canals that intertwined throughout each of the cities beautifully crafted buildings that varied distinctly from the one right next to it, to the off-putting, yet culturally delicious frites met mayonaise the Netherlands became a second home. Every Wednesday and Saturday my friends and I would take a trip to the market, located conveniently down the street from the dorms and Webster, where we would enjoy hot and fresh stroopwafels, Nutella and banana crepes from the crepe man, and the occasional kibbeling. Some of my favorite days abroad were the ones spent meandering around the streets of Holland just taking in the buildings and people (while also making sure to not get run over by a bicycle).

Whether it be by train or flying with RyanAir, traveling to other places was cheap which made it easier for us all to have weekend adventures to Ireland, London, Italy, etc. Studying abroad allowed me to live an adventure for an entire semester, and provided me with insight and knowledge of the world beyond America. I got to experience new cultures, witness a world changing event with the election of Pope Francesco I, meet new people, and acquired stories and memories that I hope never to forget.